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  1. #1
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    Question Old Schwinn parts...proprietary?

    I'm looking to get an old Schwinn frame (pre-1965, hopefully) to build into a cruiser. I do have some questions about the old Schwinns that may affect my plans.

    Do the old Schwinns have a lot of proprietary parts on them that I'd have to track down sources for, or do they use fairly standard dimensions on the frames and parts (headset and bottom bracket are what I'm most concerned about). I'm not looking to do a faithful restoration or anything, but I don't plan on a bunch of custom work, either.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  2. #2
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    The Schwinns of that era, excepting some paramounts, have an American BB hell which will take a standard-size OPC BB. However, the Schwinn OPC's were 28tpi, and took a 9-ball retainer on each side, and many folks feel that the Schwinn cups work best with the Schwinn bearings. For comparison's sake, "standard" OPCs are 24tpi and take a 10-ball retainer on each side. Short story: you can run a Schwinn spec OPC OR a standard OPC in a Schwinn frame, but you'll need to make sure that the BB itself matches the crank. The sprockets are interchangeable. (You may find some variation on the width of American BB shells, side-to-side, but mmost OPCs have enough threads to compensate for this...) 1/2" pedfals for all OPCs, btw.

    Headsets: These are 1" threaded, but they are the old-school american bike size, which means anywhere from 32.5mm to 33mm cups. I have found Schwinns from the 50s to be bigger (@32.7) with more recent (1970s) Chicago Schinns to be closer to the "bmx" size of 32.5mm. All take 24tpi forks. Basically, a nice starting point for a current-production headsets would be a tioga beartrap 2, but you may have to shim it a tiny bit. The safest bet is the Wald 4080, which you can make fit, but it will take some MacGuyver moves.

    Other than that, basically every Chi-town Schwinn takes a 13/16" seatpost, and the stem will be 22.2mm (7/8") on very old Schwinns, and 21.1mm on the majority of them.

    hth
    -Rob

  3. #3
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    PS- what is the significance of 1965?

  4. #4
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    PS- what is the significance of 1965?
    Nothing in particular. Most of the frames I've been eyeballing have been early '60s or late '50s, and later Schwinns all seemed to be Stingrays that are too small or else straight-tubed frames that aren't as aesthetically pleasing.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  5. #5
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    The Schwinns of that era, excepting some paramounts, have an American BB hell which will take a standard-size OPC BB. However, the Schwinn OPC's were 28tpi, and took a 9-ball retainer on each side, and many folks feel that the Schwinn cups work best with the Schwinn bearings. For comparison's sake, "standard" OPCs are 24tpi and take a 10-ball retainer on each side. Short story: you can run a Schwinn spec OPC OR a standard OPC in a Schwinn frame, but you'll need to make sure that the BB itself matches the crank. The sprockets are interchangeable. (You may find some variation on the width of American BB shells, side-to-side, but mmost OPCs have enough threads to compensate for this...) 1/2" pedfals for all OPCs, btw.

    Headsets: These are 1" threaded, but they are the old-school american bike size, which means anywhere from 32.5mm to 33mm cups. I have found Schwinns from the 50s to be bigger (@32.7) with more recent (1970s) Chicago Schinns to be closer to the "bmx" size of 32.5mm. All take 24tpi forks. Basically, a nice starting point for a current-production headsets would be a tioga beartrap 2, but you may have to shim it a tiny bit. The safest bet is the Wald 4080, which you can make fit, but it will take some MacGuyver moves.

    Other than that, basically every Chi-town Schwinn takes a 13/16" seatpost, and the stem will be 22.2mm (7/8") on very old Schwinns, and 21.1mm on the majority of them.

    hth
    -Rob
    Cool...thank you. That's exactly what I needed.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  6. #6
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arex View Post
    Nothing in particular. Most of the frames I've been eyeballing have been early '60s or late '50s, and later Schwinns all seemed to be Stingrays that are too small or else straight-tubed frames that aren't as aesthetically pleasing.
    I gotcha, although you can find 26" Schwinn cantilever frames all the way to the end....

    Now, if you want a straightbar, a DX, or a motobike-style frame, you'll need to stick with the older stuff....

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    Quote Originally Posted by arex View Post
    I'm looking to get an old Schwinn frame (pre-1965, hopefully) to build into a cruiser. I do have some questions about the old Schwinns that may affect my plans.

    Do the old Schwinns have a lot of proprietary parts on them that I'd have to track down sources for, or do they use fairly standard dimensions on the frames and parts (headset and bottom bracket are what I'm most concerned about). I'm not looking to do a faithful restoration or anything, but I don't plan on a bunch of custom work, either.
    Any Schwinn middle weight which they started making in 1955 will have parts that will interchange with any other middle weight including girls bikes. The parts are very easy to find you can even buy lightwieght schwinns that many of the parts will interchange. Unless you have a custom one in mind,,the most economical way is to find one that sat for a long time needs to be greased cleaned and tuned, but is complete or almost complete. I have bought and sold at least 200 hundred of them. I keep about 15 (-:
    Attached Images Attached Images

  8. #8
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
    Any Schwinn middle weight which they started making in 1955 will have parts that will interchange with any other middle weight including girls bikes. The parts are very easy to find you can even buy lightwieght schwinns that many of the parts will interchange. Unless you have a custom one in mind,,the most economical way is to find one that sat for a long time needs to be greased cleaned and tuned, but is complete or almost complete. I have bought and sold at least 200 hundred of them. I keep about 15 (-:
    Cool! Thank you.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  9. #9
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    As it turns out, I'm following another path...namely, an early-70's Raleigh Sport.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  10. #10
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Those are cool, too. Look to Sheldon if you need info about their many frustrating idiosyncrasies.

  11. #11
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    Those are cool, too. Look to Sheldon if you need info about their many frustrating idiosyncrasies.
    I spent most of my work day today reading Sheldon Brown.
    "Ahab knew, baby...I lust." -- Vet-san

  12. #12
    Senior Member yodatic's Avatar
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    <<<< Lusting that green Panther ! tom

  13. #13
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    My response would have been something along the lines of: "Does your bike have computer controlled suspension? Then shut your piehole, this baby is from the future!"
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    I like that Jaguar, all orig?
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ilikebikes View Post
    I like that Jaguar, all orig?
    The Jag is all original cept the tires

  15. #15
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    My response would have been something along the lines of: "Does your bike have computer controlled suspension? Then shut your piehole, this baby is from the future!"
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    Id love to see a few clear, detailed pics of it!
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  16. #16
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arex View Post
    Nothing in particular. Most of the frames I've been eyeballing have been early '60s or late '50s, and later Schwinns all seemed to be Stingrays that are too small or else straight-tubed frames that aren't as aesthetically pleasing.
    I used to feel that way until Tempest, and I was originally looking for a DX type frame when I spotted her.

    And I second the motion, howeeee-Show off your Jag!
    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
    They can't fix expansion joints, because they expand.
    Smile at Miles with a ROLLFAST!

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